Since 2006, the Tampa Bay Great Books Council has hosted numerous events on a diverse array of subjects. With the support of our active participants and skilled moderators, we are confident the best is yet to come!

The past events include:



January 2020 – save the date! The 15th Annual TBGBC Weekend Conference – “Reflections by Native American Writers” – will be held at the St. Petersburg Hilton Bayfront, January 31-February 2, 2020. More details will be coming soon.

January 2019: “Great Novels of the 21st Century.”  The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, Attonement by Ian McEwan, and Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, span the early 21st century and address issues of wars, class differences, family relationships, post-industrialism, globalization, and the information economy.

January 2018:  “Vietnam: Looking Back Through Three Vietnamese Novelists.” The Sympathizer (the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Viet Thank Nguyen); The Sorrow of War: A Novel of North Vietnam (by Bao Dinh); and Paradise of the Blind (by Duong Thu Huong)

January 2017: “It’s a Mad, Mad World!” (King Lear, William Shakespeare,  Catch-22, Joseph Heller, Madness and Civilization, Michel Foucault)

January 2016:    “CUBA: Seeing the Island through History, Memoir, and Fiction” (Cuba in the American Imagination, Louis Perez, Waiting for Snow in Havana, Carlos Eire, and Dreaming in Cuba, Christina Garcia)

February 2015:  “A Great Books Fine Arts Weekend” (The Moon and Sixpence, Somerset Maugham; Letters of Van Gogh: Selections; Fences, August Wilson)

January 2014:  “The Immigrant Experience in America” (Call It Sleep, by Henry Roth; The Tortilla Curtain, by T.C. Boyle; The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri)

January 2013:  “America in the 1950s: Suburbia, Conformity and Anxiety” (Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates; The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Sloan Wilson; Rabbitt, Run, John Updike)

January 2012:  “Cross-Cultural Conflicts and Misunderstanding” (A Passage to India, E.M. Forster; A Bend in the River, V.S. Naipaul; The Quiet American, Graham Greene)

January 2011:  “Justice: What Is It and Where Can We Find It?” (The Fixer, Bernard Malamud; Measure for Measure, William Shakespeare; Billy Budd, Herman Melville)

January 2010:  “Books That Changed the World” (Night, Elie Wiesel; Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe; The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli)

January 2009:  “The Mind of the South: Sampling Southern Writers” (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers; The Optimist’s Daughter, Eudora Welty; Everything That Rises Must Converge, Flannery O’Connor)

January 2008:  “Nineteenth-Century Russia: Lives in Conflict, Nation in Turmoil”   (Resurrection, Leo Tolstoy; Notes from Underground, Fydor Dostoevsky; Fathers and Sons, Ivan Turgenev)

January 2007: “The Latin American Experience: Myth or Reality?” (One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez; The House of the Spirit, Isabel Allende; Pedro Paramo, Juan Rulfo)

January 2006:  “Love, Passion, and Snow: An Experience in Japanese Literature.” (Snow Country, Yasunari Kawabata; Spring Snow, Yukio Mishima)

(The first conference in January 2006 was held at the USF Chinsegut Conference Center in Brooksville, Florida. The conferences from 2007 through 2013 were held at the Hilton Hotel in Longboat Key. The conference in 2014 was held at the Embassy Suites Hotel on the USF campus in Tampa. The 2015 conference was held in St. Petersburg at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel.)

^ back to top ^


Summer Drama Retreats: 

June 2019: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

June 2018:  Two Pulitzer Prize winning plays by Lynn Nottage – Ruined (2009) and Sweat (2017) 

June 2017: The Humans (Stephen Karam) and Three Sisters (Anton Chekhov)

June 2016: A Delicate Balance and Three Tall Women (Edward Albee)

June 2015: The Misanthrope and Tartuffe (Moliere)

June 2014:  Doubt (John Patrick Shanley) and Proof (David Auburn)
June 2013:  The Homecoming and The Caretaker (Harold Pinter)
June 2012:  Angels in America, Parts I and II (Tony Kushner)
June 2011:  The Iceman Cometh and A Moon for the Misbegotten (Eugene O’Neill)
June 2010:   All My Sons and A View From the Bridge (Arthur Miller)
June 2009:  Our Town (Thornton Wilder)
June 2008:  Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Tennessee Williams)
June 2007:  Laughing Wild and Baby With the Bathwater (Christopher Durang)

(This one-day, all-day event has been held in the month of June at the Compton Park Community Center in Tampa Palms, Florida.)

^ back to top ^



September 2019 -American Immigration: Views from the Inside. Coyotes: A Journey Across Borders with America’s Migrants, by Ted Conover, and Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas.

September 2018: “The Soul of America: The Struggle for Our Better Angels,” by Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Meacham.

September 2017: “Race Matters: From Baldwin to Coates” (James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me)

September 2016: “Science, Humanity, and the Nature of Life” (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot and two essays by Richard Dawkins and Stephen Gould)

September 2015: “Imperfect Ideal: Utopian and Dystopian Visions” (Selection of readings from Thomas More, Rebecca Solnit, E.M. Forster, Margaret Atwood, and Rachel Carson from the new Great Books anthology of the same name)

September 2014:  “The War to End All Wars: Looking Back 100 Years Ago” (Pat Barker’s historical novel , Regeneration, and a selection of World War I poetry from the Great Books anthology, Standing Down)

September 2013:  “America’s Social Contract in the Age of Globalization: Are We Our Brother’s Keeper?” (Readings on social contract theory from the “History of Philosophy” internet website and Tony Judt’s book, Ill Fares the Land)

September 2012:  “Religion and Politics in America: Where Do We Draw the Line?” (John Locke’s essay On Toleration and John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech to the Houston Ministerial Association)

September 2011:  “American Democracy: Is It Still Viable and Exportable?” (Readings from the Great Books publication, A Gathering of Equals)

September 2010:  “Is There Such a Thing as a Just War?” (Readings from the “History of Philosophy” selected from the Internet)

(This one-day, all-day event has been held in the month of September. The first one was at the First United Church of Tampa, in 2011 at the Compton Park Community Center, in 2012 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Tampa, and in 2013 and 2014 at the Tampa Palms Golf and Country Club.)

^ back to top ^


Summer Short Story Project:

Since April 2010, members of the Tampa Bay Great Books Council have held informal monthly discussions on short stories during the spring and summer months, from April through September.  These meetings are held at the residences of Great Books members and the host/hostess serves as the moderator for each session.  The texts used for this series of discussions have included:  Seven Deadly Sins, Great Books Short Story Omnibus, Great Short Stories of the World, Scribner Anthology of Modern Short Stories and Contemporary American Short Fiction (edited by Joyce Carol Oats.

^ back to top ^


Additional Great Books Events:

August 2016: “The Search for Meaning in Life” This one-day conference was a collaborative effort organized in conjunction with the Great Books Discussion Group of Sarasota. It was held at the Sarasota Historical Society House in downtown Sarasota. The readings for discussion were Saul Bellow’s Seize the Day and Voltaire’s Candide.

May 2015: Talking Service – TBGBC partnered with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Florida Humanities Council to participate in Talking Service reading and discussion program designed to help returning veteran’s transition from military to civilian life.  Read more…

April 2012:   “Great Books Explores USF’S Graphicstudio” This one-day event featured a two-hour discussion of Clement Greenberg’s essay, Avant-Garde and Kitsch at the USF Graphicstudio on the USF/Tampa campus.

December 2012:  “Great Books Adult Leadership Workshop” This one-day event, led by Don Smith, trained future Great Books discussion leaders using Great Books Foundation’s Shared Inquiry Handbook.

^ back to top ^

TBGBC Newletter Archive: